Passion red

Photo courtesy of The Equine Chronicle

What is the first thing you think when you hear the word “red”? I think to lipstick. Immediately, red lipstick makes me think to passion. And passion has a direct link with horses.

Friday was day one at the Silver Dollar Circuit and I was watching the live stream “hunting” cool outfits. The color palette was dominated by black and blue but… There were some wonderful red outfits. In a black sea, red jackets were standing like a lighthouse in a dark, rainy night.

After black and blue, red is probably one of the most worn color in the pen. It is also one of the “untraditional” color most used for complete outfits (hat, chaps, top, boots and pad). It is a color with personality, with a lot of allure. Fire red it is also the color of haute couture, cat walks and, of course, red carpets. There is no doubt it is connected with high quality fashion.

These could be some reasons why it is so popular in the show pen. Moreover, especially in Western Pleasure, it catches the eyes of the judges without being too eccentric. If you think a complete fire red set is too much for you, you can just choose a black or grey top with some red touches: a classy eye-catcher!

What do you think about red outfits? Do you like them?

The bloggers exchange: differences and similarities between US and European Fashion

Photo courtesy of Cat Guenther of Behind The Bit

Fashion is passion. A passion that unite equestrians from all over the world. From the US till Europe, horse show clothing, make up and fancy tack make riders´ eyes shine. Everybody, at least once, dreamed to wear a jacket sawn at a big show or on a internet website. But how does horse show fashion change from one country to an another? Is there an exchange of trends and inspirations? Cat Guenther, fashion blogger at Behind The Bit, and I discussed about similarities and differences between horse show clothes in the two continents. Check out what she had to say 😉


How much, in your opinion, does European Horse show fashion influence outfits in the US?

Cat: European and US fashion have a lot in common. I think both influence one another every show season for the better. Examples of this are bolero vests, satin button-ups, and jackets with fringe.

What is going to be “in” this year in the US?

Cat: We will probably see exhibitors going for a “simpler” look. The industry is focusing less on the amount of bling on a jacket and more on the horse and rider’s abilities in the show pen. Whether the shirt has no crystals or thousands of crystals, a professional first impression is always “in”. This means making sure your clothes fit well and are clean. First impressions are everything!

What are, from your point of view, the main differences between fashion in the US and in Europe?

Cat: Color schemes. I feel that there are more “vibrant” colors in the US. Whereas in Europe, exhibitors remain a little more “traditional” with color. I feel for the most part, the styles are similar. Exhibitors in both the US and Europe have very polished, stunning fashion choices. For example, I’ve seen a lot of boleros and fitted button-ups which both look amazing in the pen!

Do you think that black will still be the “king color” in the US this year? Or are there any colors coming up?

Cat: Personally, I think black will still be the dominant color within the show pen this year. Black is very versatile and complimentary in the show pen. I have seen some stunning colored outfits though in colors such as grey, rust, etc. The darker colors or shades seem to be most popular.  Although, I think exhibitors may embrace brighter colored button-ups with matching pads this year. With small fry’s, I’ve seen adorable outfits with bright blues, purples, etc. though.

 Apart from Boleros vests, is there any new trend?

Cat: I’ve observed that button-up shirts have become popular in the show pen because they are affordable and look professional. Above all, it is becoming more and more of a trend to be “different”. By this, I mean that people are expressing their personality through their outfits. Whether this be a button-up, a classy suit, or a fancy whip stitched hat (hats with whipstitch are a favorite of mine!).  I love seeing these current trends because they create more self-expression and individuality in the show pen!


Would you like to add something?

Cat: The most crucial aspect of horse show fashion, no matter the continent or level of showing, is to express yourself through your style!

Thank you Cat, it was a pleasure to work with you!! Cat, owner of Behind The Bit Show Clothing, started her horse show fashion blog at the beginning of this year following her passion for horses and for writing.

So what do you think? What are, in your opinion, the main differences in fashion between Europe and the US?

Which is the best top under the vest?

Photo courtesy of The Equine Chronicle

How do we choose what to wear under a vest? Is it a matter of fit or of fashion? Some riders like to wear a Horsemanship top under a vest, some others prefer a button down shirt. The question is: which one is better? Let’s see the advantages and the disadvantages of both.

The Horsemanship top.

From an aesthetic point of view, the Horsemanship top wins. Your arms sparkle and, if you wear a bolero, you have some sparkle also in the waist zone. Moreover, from far, the vest/Horsemanship top combination looks like a jacket. It is also really practical for All Around riders! You can show in Trail, Western Riding and Pleasure with your vest on and than, when it is Horsemanship time, you just put away your vest and you are ready to walk to the cone! In my opinion, the only disadvantage is the excessive weight. If the vest and the top are richly decorated, they weight way too much and you have no room for movement in your arms. Many designers are now offering vest sets featuring “light” Horsemanship tops with just a few decorations. If you want to be comfortable but you want to keep the sparkle on your arms, this is the solution for you.

The button down shirt.

Plain fitted shirts are queens of elegance. If you wear one of them under a vest you will have a clean and professional look. You can’t be wrong and it won’t be “too much”. They are really light weight and you can move your arms easily. Moreover, during hot summer days, you will avoid the “oven effect”.

If you think that a button down shirt is not enough decorated and you want a little bit more sparkle, you can choose one with decorated cuffs and collar.

There are two main differences between these two kinds of tops: A Horsemanship top is more sparkly than a plain fitted shirt, but it is also heavier.

So, if you want to be a “bling queen”, you have to sacrifice comfort.

What do you like to wear under a vest? A Horsemanship top or a plain fitted shirt?

Show me your shoulders

Photo courtesy of Ashley Peterson of Signature Styles by Ashley

How do you combine the elegance and the sparkle of a Horsemanship top with the comfort and the light weight of a plain fitted shirt? I think this is a problem a lot of riders struggle with. We want to shine bright and have a top richly decorated but, on the other side, we want to wear something comfortable and not too heavy.

While I was watching  photos of some big shows, I noticed some riders who were wearing “classical” button down shirts with decorations over the shoulders and on the collar. I made a little jump on my chair and I thought: “Here it is the solution: light weight and bling bling!”. The dream combination.

As I got curious about those garments, I interviewed Ashley Peterson of Signature Style by Ashley. Ashley started her business in 2013 and she creates a limited number of custom pieces per month; some of them are “classical” shirts with decorations over the shoulder. Let’s see what she had to say about them 😉

In your opinion, which are the main advantages these kind of shirts have compared to classic Horsemanship tops?

Ashley: I think the main advantage of these tops compared to classic Horsemanship tops is their versatility. They are appropriate for all levels of showing. You can wear them at the local level all the way up to the national/world level. Most people are looking for something in black and these tops offer such classic elegance. With adding embellishment to the shoulders, collar and front, clients can easily add their own signature to them while working within budget constraints. Maybe they want a little pop of color to match a saddle pad or maybe they want something edgy without going too far out of their comfort zone. This is the perfect avenue for that!


How are these shirts constructed? Are they plain fitted shirts or they have a back zipper? And which kind of fabric is possible to use for them?

Ashley: These tops are constructed with a structured 4 way stretch lycra with a back zipper. The fabric is so comfortable and has the perfect amount of stretch without losing it’s shape or draping poorly. I stick to using the 4 way stretch lycra so it has a similar look to a traditional horsemanship top and also isn’t too loose or too tight. This fabric also holds up well to embellishments and won’t pull with heavier stones.

How did you come to the idea to create this kind of shirts?

Ashley: Button down blouses are so popular so I wanted to take that one step further and create something that would be fancier than a button down but would be less of an investment than the typical Horsemanship top. I knew it needed to create a square shoulder, have clean lines and be comfortable to ride in allowing for freedom of movement. I also wanted them affordable, easy to customize and appropriate for any age exhibitor. It was important for me to provide a top that fits in the middle range budget. There is a gap in the market for mid-range pieces that are trendsetting, high quality and unique. I want those with a lower budget to have access to stunning pieces that can be worn at any level.


Which kind of decorations is possible to add to them?

Ashley: You can add pretty much any kind of embellishments to them! Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

I would like to thank Ashley for explaining us the features of this particular kind of shirts. Thank you!!

As she said, these tops have many advantages: they are fancy, affordable and they are suitable for any level of show. I particularly like the fact that they are light weight but they have a great amount of bling bling.

What do you think? Would you wear this kind of shirts?



Step into Barrel Racing Fashion

Photo courtesy of Sundial Show Clothing

Speed. Adrenalin. Concentration. Two hearts beating together. This is the fascinating world of Barrel Racing. In such a really spectacular sport, how much does fashion count? And how can you combine style with safety? To find out more about it, I interviewed Kaitlin Lorman, owner and designer of Sundial Show Clothing, from Cleveland, Ohio. Kaitlin gave me some really interesting information about Barrel Racing fashion. Are you courious? Than go on reading 😉


What is appropriate to wear at the shows for Barrel Racing?

Kaitlin: According to the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association rulebook,  “Long sleeve shirts that are collared and have either buttons, snaps or full length zipper on the front of the shirt, jeans without holes, western boots and western hat (helmets are acceptable for all WPRA competitions) must be worn for all rodeo performances and slack. Contestant’s appearance must be neat, clean and professional. Any contestant whose appearance is deemed unprofessional will be fined.” Barrel Racing is all about speed and agility; in an appearance that lasts less than 20 seconds, you really want to make your time in the pen count. As the rider, you need to be unrestricted to allow yourself full range of motion  and remain lightweight as you are acting as a jockey in a very intense race.


What do Barrel Racers want to wear?

Kaitlin: Barrel racers want to be noticed. It’s a quick spin around the “cloverleaf” pattern and to have a standout style that’s going to get you noticed is a bonus! Many riders sport trophy buckles and tack that they’ve won from competitions. It’s also very common to see gear with company branding on it, as the top racers receive sponsorship from various types of companies. Getting themselves noticed is one of the best ways to earn these sponsorships.


Is there a style that is more appropriate than others for Barrel Racing?

Kaitlin: Safety is quite important in this high-speed sport. Styles that emphasize safety of the horse and rider are encouraged. Lightweight, moisture-wicking stretch styles (like Sundial’s) are best as they do not restrict the rider’s range of motion and remain looking clean and polished even at high speeds, whereas other fabrics may appear baggy and come untucked during the race.


What is going to be “in” for Barrel Racing in 2018?

Kaitlin: Barrel Racing is always about extreme styles as those who compete in such an intense sport like to push the limits. Fringe has remained popular and will continue to be a sought after style in 2018. Repeating patterns have replaced tie-dye for the new year and you’ll see many riders sparkling as they gallop through the alleyway with glitter and Swarovski accents on their tack, accessories, and clothing.


Is the use of accessories (earrings, necklaces, etc) encouraged? If yes, which ones are the most popular? 

Kaitlin: Wearing bling is certainly part of this event, but designs that are lightweight and comfortable are more important than anything. You’ll mostly see earrings as bracelets and necklaces are generally hidden underneath riding apparel. Earrings that are featherweight and have lots of sparkle are the most popular designs. It’s important that they do not catch on your hair or clothing. Sundial’s earrings are designed with this in mind! One of the more popular barrel racing accessories is also the painted/patterned hat or helmet, which can be customized to match the rest of a rider’s ensemble. Hats also feature painted feather accessories as a perfect finishing & interchangeable touch. You’ll also often see riders race with their hair down, blowing in the breeze. It’s very common for barrel racers to experiment with different hair colors as an additional accessory.


Are there any colors which are more popular than others?

Kaitlin: Pink, black, and blue are certainly some of the most popular colors featured in this sport… But each and every color of the rainbow is represented and revered by the barrel racers. Coordinating tack sets, boots, and outfits are a must.


Are fringes and/or chains appropriate for Barrel Racing?

Kaitlin: Fringe is becoming increasingly more popular in the Barrel Racing world as you certainly get the most bang for your buck with fringe at high speeds. Chains are not generally seen as they can pose a safety hazard from getting caught or whipped by a chain accent. You’ll see new and exciting designs of fringe for 2018, like our beaded fringe available on our Celeste and Signature Classic Black.


I checked several photos of barrel racers and no one is wearing chaps, why?

Kaitlin: Sometimes it is important for barrel racers to manoeuvre their legs to avoid knocking down barrels. Chaps are just another item to weigh you down and restrict your movement during the race. Some riders wear knee or chin guards to protect themselves in case they knock a barrel. Coordinating jeans are a huge style in Barrel Racing.


Would you like to add something to the interview?

Kaitlin: Barrel racing is a sport any rider can participate in, and it can be very rewarding. I encourage everyone to at least give this adrenaline rush a try even just for fun… You may just fall in love. One of the best parts of the sport is that you can express your individuality, and it is highly encouraged. Sundial is designed to help you express yourself in both a classy and comfortable way. We are a brand all about cowgirl confidence. Our designs are truly cut from a different cloth-expertly tailored from lightweight & fun fabrics, accented by genuine Swarovski crystals with cooling comfort & stretch for the perfect fit. Being in the saddle is about having a good time and experimenting with rodeo events can certainly be a great way to get us all out of our shell and remember what it’s like to let loose!

I would like to thank Kaitlin with all my heart for her time, her kindness and for having answered to all my question even if I am not a Barrel Racing Expert. Thank you Kaitlin!


It is interesting to find out how fashion change from one discipline to the other: Barrel Racing, Reining, All Around. But in all those disciplines the interest for fashion is high. Fashion in the show pen is fundamental to be notice, to express yourself as a competitor and as a rider and, why not, to have fun.

When you stand at the cone, you walk to the centre or you enter the arena at a full speed, what you are wearing is going to get you noticed. Always. Do you agree?